of the San Francisco Examiner
how's the whoring?
Of Kiss of the
Dragon, "Jet Li is the baddest special effect to hit
the megaplexes." (but apparently not the smaller theaters)
Dr. Dolittle is "uproariously clever!"
A.I. is "not Spielberg's movie
And it isn't Kubrick's. It's ours. for that we should be tremendously
Joe, your real
calling is writing sappy greeting cards
Randy Shandis Enterprises. All rights fucking reserved.
"More of the same shit."
We were having a spirited discussion the other night at the
Arvada Tavern about how if the Harelip played that Goddamn Britney
Spears song one more time I was going to take a pool cue to the
juke box. I'm one hell of an arguer when I have eight or nine
Bud drafts in me. I mean, once I'm slick with liquor, I do all
the things a good arguer does: not let you use facts and figures
to prove me wrong, not up, and always yell louder and more obscenely
On this particular night, Lloyd got to the Tavern before me,
during happy hour, while drafts are only $1.25. By the time I
slipped out of the apartment and joined him, he was drunker than
an Italian in Las Vegas. From there it was no problem convincing
him he had bowled a 300 game earlier and that the drinks were
on him. Ergo, by ten I was lubricated for a fight and that Britney
shit was the all I needed.
It wasn't specifically Britney that was pissing me off. It
was this whole genre of efficiently and pointlessly made shit.
It's shit that's made with passion, but no imagination. I'm talking
about stuff made by people who want to make the shiniest, most
polished pile of horseshit ever. It never occurs to them that
the world already has more than enough to go around. They don't
care if the shit they're making has already been made. All they
know is that they want to make some shit.
The Score is shit. It isn't the steaming, wet, slippery,
smell-it-from-a-mile-away kind that the Harelip is famous for.
It's just run of the mill; the kind that shouldn't exist because
Hollywood's septic tanks are already bulging with more of the
same. The Score is, believe it or not, the umpteenth bad-guy-wants-one-last-score-before-he-goes-straight
flick. It's the product of people who never met a jewel-heist
cliché they didn't like and weren't ashamed to repeat.
DeNiro is the guy who wants to go straight once he makes this
big last score. Going straight for him means no more stealing,
just poisoning the world with pretentious jazz in his unimaginative
and pretentious jazz club. Norton is the story's mandatory young
turk. You know, he's the cocky kid DeNiro has to deal with. And
Brando plays the older mentor who gives DeNiro the jobs and advice.
Norton has the inside scoop on a $30 million scepter inside
the Montreal Customs House. It's the tightest security in town.
Not only that, Montreal's where DeNiro lives and he's always
sworn he'd never crap in his own backyard. I've sworn that, too,
Bobby, but put a 12-pack of Schlitz in my tummy and all bets
are off. DeNiro's promise is irrelevant, though, because like
so much of the story here it has no impact. He agrees to do the
job with hardly any coercion. He and Norton plot it out, and
then they pull it off. No drama, no muss or fuss, not even any
conflict between the three main actors.
There's a "surprise" plot twist at the end, of course,
and it's about as predicatble as the plot. Anyone who has seen
sit before knows that Norton will double-cross DeNiro. Well,
he'll try, but DeNiro's the wise old man, and will counter. It's
supposed to make the audience say "Oooo," but all it
did was make me say "Can I go home now?"
The most bewildering thing about The Score is why it's
filmed in Montreal. Hey, it's a great city to quarantine French-Canadians
in, but it's about as pleasant to look at as the Harelip in a
string top: all decayed and drooping. And like every movie I've
seen filmed there, this one is fucking claustrophobic, filmed
almost entirely indoors. I guess indoors is nicer than outdoors
The Score's plot is most notable for the fact that
it's flatter than fucking Kansas. It plods along like a steam
train, rickety and tired, but--barring a gory derailment-its
destination is predetermined. Part of the problem is that Hollywood
made this movie for old people, and old people love "Murder,
She Wrote" and "Diagnosis: Murder." That's not
to say they don't like better shit, but the grassfuckers in Hollywood
always aims just a little below the lowest common denominator
that worked before. The climactic heist--featuring showy high-tech
stuff and lots of near misses--is the only part that shows any
life, and even then it's by the book. Otherwise, there is no
tension. DeNiro isn't supposed to like Norton, but he agrees
to work with him damn quickly, and then they get along fine.
DeNiro has the requisite girlfriend who doesn't approve of his
lifestyle, but Angela Bassett is wasted in a role about as thin
as the seat of Mrs. Filthy's pants. I never gave a rat's ass
whether DeNiro retired for her because other than being hot she
wasn't given a reason to exist. Besides that, DeNiro isn't worth
rooting for. He's a fucking thief who wants to retire to run
a nightclub. Oh, yeah, I can identify with that. We definitely
need more shitty nightclubs with overpriced martinis.
Brando needs this big score because he's in trouble with some
tough thugs. Well, that's what we're told, but we never see him
in any danger, we never sense fear. We just hear him briefly
piss and moan about it. Norton's character comes out of nowhere
and returns to nowhere. How did he become a crook? How much does
he know and where did he learn it? What does he really want?
Nobody ever thought to answer these questions.
Half the scenes are of people who get along just fine sitting
around tables talking civilly. Granted, this is a foreign world
to me, but it's a fucking boring world. Let's see some backstabbing,
fighting, scratching, or at least have some strippers jump up
on the table and swing their tits around.
Why bother casting Brando? It's a fucking stunt, but they might
as well have had Charlie sheen play his part. He does nothing
but waddle around, breathe heavily, sweat and mumble. Any time
I want to see that all I need to do is spill some jelly beans
down the clearance aisle at Hancock Fabrics. Norton and DeNiro
couldn't care less. They just do their work, breezing their way
through the many drinking-bottled-water-at-the-jazz-club scenes.
The plot holes I mentioned gape like the passed-out Harelip's
mouth after midnight. And they're as unpleasant to think about.
First, Norton poses as a crippled janitor at the Customs House
and that's how he learns about the scepter. But, why the fuck
was he posing as a cripple at the Customs house before he even
learned about the scepter? Just for kicks? Because it's hard
to find work as a janitor otherwise? A few times the story works
itself into corners that it can't get out of. So, voila, some
new character pops up, provides key information , then disappears.
At the end, DeNiro's character encounters a safe he's never cracked
before. It's impossible, he says, so advanced it's like nothing
he's ever seen. You can't just drill through the door, he says.
The solution? Drill through its roof, which is, apparently, as
flimsy as the movie's plot.
The Score is dull. It's shiny, stars big names and
looks and sounds great, but I'd rather watch a story someone
actually cared about. I'm sick of seeing shit spit-polished until
its makers can see their reflections in it.
to tell Filthy something?